Jeb: US Has ‘Duty to Act’ On Human Rights Abuses, Especially If We Have Unique ‘Special Forces Capabilities’

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated “we have a duty to act, particularly if it requires the special forces capabilities that only the United States has” in the cases of human rights abuses and genocide, although “it has to be measured and what’s our security interests, what’s in our interests, how do we protect our shores?” In an interview broadcast on Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “On the Record.”

When asked about the US’ responsibility in cases of human rights abuses and genocides such as Nigeria and Sudan [relevant exchange begins around 7:50], Jeb said, “I think in every case it has to be measured and what’s our security interests, what’s in our interests, how do we protect our shores? But we also have a moral obligation that is important. And it may not be the first priority which, I think, is security with our allies, and security of the homeland, but I think we have a duty to act, particularly if it requires the special forces capabilities that only the United States has. So, if it’s Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, or other — another place where we’re not putting people in harm’s way in a rash fashion, but we’re doing it in a serious, strategic way, why not? Why not save Christian girls that are enslaved and raped. Why not save people that are being burned to death in cages or bombed?”

He added, “the question is, do we have the capability to act in a way that can change the equation? … you have to assess what the risks are, determine what — the best you can, what the outcome can be by using the special capabilities that we have that only we have, and I don’t think we should just be cautious to the point of inaction. Because I think there are circumstances where had we acted, we would have saved lives. And it’s the same thing when we send the Navy. Is it appropriate to send the Navy after the tsunami in Asia? I would say yeah.”

Jeb concluded, “I think that’s the kind of investment we need to make. But there are places where our involvement wouldn’t yield the kind of result that you and I would want to see.”

Jeb also commented on US foreign aid, stating, “our foreign aid should reflect our values, should reflect our free market philosophy economically. We shouldn’t give aid to countries…that deters their interest in reforming so that their people can rise up.”

He added that trying to use foreign aid to win friends isn’t the “proper use” of foreign aid,” and “that it never works.”

Jeb continued, “Better to provide support that would allow an entrepreneur to be able to rise up. You remember the revolution in Tunisia. It was started by a small businessman who was frustrated beyond belief that the crony capitalism of Tunisia did not allow him to have a business where he could grow, and he killed himself, and it created the spark for a revolution. we should be on the side of the people like that, rather than supporting regimes that suppress aspirations the of their people. We should have foreign aid that helps them understand what freedom is all about, about free market economics, and about the freedom, tolerance, and the freedom of our country. Just by providing support to despots to maintain their presence is not necessary. That’s a waste of money.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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